ROAD WARRIORS: Lancers start season 2-0 with another win at Muskegon

MUSKEGON, Mich. - Rochester Lancers could not have asked for a better start to its Major Arena Soccer League 2 season.

Lancers won its second road game in a little more than 24 hours, recording a 10-7 triumph past the Muskegon Risers at Mercy Health Arena on Saturday night.

Combined with its 6-3 season-opening win over the Risers on Friday night, Rochester improved to 2-0 while Muskegon dropped to 1-6.

Head coach Jake Schindler (one assist), Alex Harling and Vadim Cojovov led Lancers 2 with two goals apiece.  Eduardo Figueroa, Konrad Zydowicz, Matthew Sawaged and Darren Toby added single tallies. 

The visitors played without its season-opener scoring hero, Joey Tavernese (hat-trick on Friday night), who needed to join Utica City FC for its Major Arena Soccer League game against the Mesquite Outlaws on Saturday. Tavernese scored twice to earn third star of the game honors for Utica in its 9-8 home win.

There were no stars of the game awarded in Muskegon, although Lancers had plenty of candidates for those honors. That included goalkeeper Jakeb Mitchell, who was sharp in his Rochester debut, making 21 saves to record the win.

Taylor Pill led Muskegon with a hat-trick.

Lancers certainly made the most of its chances, scoring 10 goals on only 17 shots.

Rochester grabbed a 2-0 first-quarter lead on goals. Harling scored from the right side at 8:48 before Figueroa doubled the lead by placing his shot between the legs of goalkeeper Luka Lobo with only 40 seconds remaining in the period.

The second quarter was an absolute goal fest as eight goals ripped the nets.

The Risers stormed back to equalize on Pill's two scores, the first 41 seconds into the second quarter and another one at 1:35before Kyle Crain lifted the hosts into the lead with a shot into the lower far right corner for a 3-2 edge at 4:28.

That lead, however, was short-lived as Rochester dominated the rest of the period. Zydowicz, off a Cojocov feed, knotted things up, scoring from the left side of the penalty area at 5:42. Sawaged scored off a counterattack to lift the visitors into a 4-3 advantage at 6:18 before Schindler duplicated the feat off another counter at 9:31.

After Elmedin Zukic found the net at 10:25, but Cojovov restored Lancers 2's two-goal lead only 14 seconds later as the team took a 6-4 halftime advantage into the locker room.

The teams traded four goals in the third period. Twice the Risers came within a goal and twice Lancers regained its two-goal margin. Miguel Flores scored off a fine individual run on the left flank to pull the hosts with a goal at 4:06 but Toby, off a Schindler free kick, tallied from the right side for a 7-5 lead.

Aldony Mendez brought Muskegon within a goal again at 8:35, but Lancers made the Risers pay on a turnover as Schindler converted a 3-on-2 break off a Toby feed with 17 seconds remaining in the period.

Rochester controlled the fourth quarter quite well, extending its lead to four goals at one juncture. Harling outmuscled a Muskegon defender for a goal only 31 seconds into the period for a 9-6 margin. After Michael Schmitt was assessed a blue card for fouling Cojocov, the Lancers player converted his shootout attempt for a 10-6 advantage at 3:39.

Pill closed out the scoring with his third goal at 6:33.

After Zukic was awarded a blue card at 11:24, Rochester smartly decided to pass the ball around on the subsequent power play to take time off the clock, essentially putting the game on ice.

Lancers won't be in action for almost a month when the team visits Iowa. Rochester meets the Iowa Raptors on Saturday, Feb. 4 and then the Iowa Demon Hawks on Sunday, Feb. 5.

The team returns to Western New York for its home opener against the Demon Hawks on Friday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, Feb. 25. Kickoff for both matches is 7:30 p.m. ET.

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